We all know that stress can negatively affect our lives. But how much does being stressed out really cost us? It turns out that managing our stress isn’t just to feel healthier and happier. It can also help us save some serious cash. Think about all the ways that stress costs us money.
First, there are the obvious ones. Stress contributes to all sorts of health problems, from high blood pressure to heart attacks, digestive issues, hormonal imbalance, and much more.
According to a 2001 study, 75% of families who filed for bankruptcy as a result of medical costs had insurance. Out-of-pocket costs for those families averaged almost $12,000 from the onset of an illness. So even with insurance, getting sick can wreck our financial lives. Healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent major illness, saving us thousands of dollars (not to mention extra suffering and stress).
But getting sick doesn’t just mean having to pay the doctor. It also means missing time at work, and with that, income. The New York Times reported on a study that found people who were admitted to the hospital for injury or illness earned 20% less after returning to work- if they even returned to the workforce at all. This amounted to an average of $11,000 in reduced annual income by the 3rd year after a hospital stay.
We can see that getting injured or seriously ill can have devastating financial consequences. But what about the less dramatic effects of stress?
A study of ‘impulse buying’ habits indicated that people spend around $5,000 per year on ‘impulse buys,’ including grocery items, clothing, fast food, and other non-essential ‘feel good’ items. What drives this impulse to buy things that we know aren’t necessary or healthy? Often, it’s the need for instant gratification or relief, isn’t it? Believe it or not, how often you buy something out of impulse can be related to stress. Manage your stress and you'll make better choices with your wallet.
Finally, stress affects our mental health. Feelings of fatigue, negativity, distraction, and irritation can all result from too much stress. These mental states reduce productivity- making it harder to succeed at work or at home. They can take a toll on our relationships and even our health. If we decide to seek help with a therapist, we might end up spending $100-$200 per hour. Over the course of a year that could easily add up to $5000-$10,000.
The point is, managing stress isn’t a luxury decision. It’s a worthwhile investment for our health, happiness, peace of mind, and our bank accounts. By doing a few simple things to prevent stress from accumulating in our lives, we can potentially save more than $20,000 per year, not to mention saving ourselves a lot of suffering.
Of course, none of us can be sure what life will bring, but we can certainly improve our odds of staying happy and healthy by practicing good self-care.
Body & Brain is spearheading a campaign known as the Seed for Health.
SEED is an acronym describing the four pillars of effective self-care and self-management.
If you take care of these four aspects in your life, you’ll be well on your way to maximizing your chances of finding health, happiness and peace. Check back in with us for more details about the Seed for Health campaign and how you can help yourself and others with natural self-care techniques.